24 January 2011

"No Social Media"

A few weeks ago I got an email from a fellow Hooters Girl.  She began by saying that she had come across my blog while looking for tips on applying at Hooters.  Evidentially, I am a most superior job coach because she went in knowing to expect and got the job.  I'm currently accepting more clients if you're interested.  Anyway, after letting me know I'm pretty much amazing, the Hooters Girl went on to say that she is currently a first year law student at University of Oklahoma.  I was immediately intrigued.

"When I decided to go to law school, everyone had advice on how to take tests, which supplements to read, but no one reminded me to always stay true to myself and be proud of who I am. I took and still take a lot of heat from classmates because not everyone appreciates that I enjoy getting dressed up for class and that I'm not ashamed of my side job. But I am proud of it and have learned how important it is to hold my head high!"

Guest post!  Guest post!  GUEST POST!!!  Epic, sweet content opportunity!  So I did what any good blogger would do and invited her to write a guest post about her experiences as a law school student and a Hooters Girl.  And then I got this:

"I apologize that it took me so long to reply, but I really have been thinking about the opportunity you suggested. The problem is that the store I work at has a pretty strict "NO SOCIAL MEDIA" policy. I also think that if someone I went to school with ever somehow found it, it would make my life at school more awful then it currently is."

Apparently it's a no social media
social media strategy...
The school part I totally understand, but I was actually a lot more interested in the "NO SOCIAL MEDIA" part.  It is fairly common in a lot of restaurants (and pretty much any type of business) to have similar policies that restrict employees’ use of social media.  Out here in the vicious wilderness that is the Internet you never know what anyone is really saying about you.  Of course that's only until some major media outlet or Tosh.0 gets a hold of it.  Then the whole world knows whether what you're saying is flattering or not.

And that the real reason for these types of rules; employers are worried about the negative things they imagine their workers would say about them if they were given the chance.  What better place to get your word out about how much your boss sucks than the Internet?  Here everyone will listen to you and ruin your asshat boss's sorry little life.  Of course it's rarely really like that.

What all these "no social media" people don't realize is that while anyone can say those things, not everyone is going to read them.  But of course they could - isn't that effing scary.  Let's be honest though, when your neighbor is complaining yet again about his awful job at your barbeque you're probably drowning him out.  So why is the Internet any different?  I suppose the only difference is that said boss can finally find out about everything you're saying.  And isn't that just embarrassing.

But lets put all that aside and look at the bigger picture.  Social media IS one of the best ways to reach your customers.  And even better than the vast reach is the fact that social media is free.  So why all those employers are worried about Bobby call them a "stupid douche," they're actually missing out on one of their best opportunities to connect with their client base. 

This very blog is a prime example of social media.  Yeah, I've said a few negative things, but overall this is hardly the tone of my blog.  I responsibly write about my experiences and what's it like to actually live the life that I live and amazingly people appreciate it.  People read it and respond.  They write comments and send emails.  And guess what, they even get off the couch, drive to Hooters and spend their money there.  Yes, Hooters makes money because I decided to write this blog.  And they don't have to pay a dime for it.

That's the thing, social media works.  It makes people money and it does so because it's personal and dynamic and timely.  It's a message that comes from real people, having real experiences, in real time rather than something glossy and perfect from the screen of a TV or the pages of a magazine.  Social media isn't advertising, it's real life, word of mouth.  And if all those marketing classes taught me one thing it's that word of mouth is the best form of advertising there is.  The fact is, people believe other people and social media is an amazing way of making that connection happen.

Obviously, I don't believe in "no social media" policies.  While I understand that idea is to protect business, I firmly believe that it hurts it much more.  Yes, if you leave people to say what they want you will encounter negative comments.  But what about all the good things?  In fearing the negative you are also forced to forgo the vast positive.  And if we're really going to get down it, if you have a positive environment and treat your employees well aren't they going to be saying good things anyway?

I firmly believe in social media.  I believe that it's where every business should be if they really want to make an immediate mark on their customers.  After all you, dear reader, found your way here.  Isn't social media beautiful?


  1. Business exec's are not just afraid of Social Media, they are afraid of new technology......PERIOD! During my time in Collage getting my B.S. in Business Management, I have encountered professors and classmates that don't know shit about how the Business World and the Real World connect. When you talk to these people, it seems like they are in LALA Land.

    Personally, I wear 2 Hats. I am a creative person AND a suit. Wearing both hats has advantages and dangers. Management always wants to control everything and everyone. They don't want to give ANYONE an opportunity to hold that kind of power. Social Media is just one of many tools that gives people power over Upper Management. They will do ANYTHING to stop it.

  2. The company I work for doesn't have a "no social media" rule but they do caution the employees to be careful what they say online. I rarely mention work, myself, in my own blog, and then only in general terms--not so much because of the guidelines (though I want to keep my job) but because nobody would be all that interested in it. Nobody who I'd like reading my blog, anyways.

  3. J, I think that all companies have the stance - written, vocalized, or simply understood - that their employees should be careful about what they say even if there is no "no social media" policy. But I think that's just something that is a given. As I said in my post, I said "responsibly write..." and have always been very, very aware of what I say and how I say it. While the topic of my blog is my job, I share my thoughts both negative and positive with the realization that I need to take care.

    But really I think every blogger does this in one way or another. Personal censoring is something we all do whether we realize it or not.

    I also like your point about no one being interested - that's something I don't think employers even think about. A lot of people won't waste the time to say things online because it's not as important as they seem to imagine it to be.

    I just think they miss all the good by focusing on the possibility of the bad..

  4. I was fired from myjob when they learned I was blogging about them. I never told them, they just happened on it and realized the specifics were about them.

  5. Certainly you enjoy a degree of freedom with your blog. And certainly Hooters has profited some from it.

    However, consider not every Hooters Girl who decides to post a blog will handle it as well as you. Even K.H.'s posts were fairly biting at times. Corporate will almost assuredly reconsider its position on your and any other blog the day something really nasty gets out.

    My opinion is your company (and lesser still your restaurant) is comfortable with blogging Hooters Girls so long as it doesn't cut into the image or the profit margin. Once that happens, I would not be surprised if you get leaned on to knock it off.

    At which point you'll have to consider your job over this blog.

    I share the problem. I develop curriculum for a branch of the US military and I frequent many forums. I make posts so long as they don't interfere with the military's image or our product. Should I ever cross a professional boundary of taste or opinion regarding the military, I am quite sure I'd lose my job.

    The military, much like Hooters, will not care about one employee more or less who crosses the line.

  6. Bitchy, I love your blog and know all about that situation. Which I still think is totally lame.

    I understand that if I say the wrong thing I'd be easy to get rid of. All to well. That's why I am very aware of what I say, maybe I'm over generalizing, but I think most people probably are.

    My whole point is simply that employers need to have a great understanding of what blogging and posting and Facebooking by people other than paid marketing employees can be incredibly beneficial.

    I definitely understand the issue though.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...